The BFI 55th London Film Festival will open with the European premiere of 360, the Fernando Meirelles-directed drama that stars Rachel Weisz, Jude Law and Anthony Hopkins. The film opens Oct. 12 and the festival unveils the rest of its titles next Wednesday. I’m told that the opening film came down to 360 and My Week With Marilyn, but the latter film couldn’t make it because star Michelle Williams could not free herself from the production schedule of Disney’s The Great and Powerful Oz, and co-star Kenneth Branagh will be onstage in Belfast. These fest openers are sometimes determined by availability. For instance, the New York Film Festival seriously eyed Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy for its opener, but the film’s star, Gary Oldman, could not free himself from The Dark Knight Rises.  The festival opens with Carnage, even though that film’s director Roman Polanski will certainly be a scratch.

360 is a Peter Morgan-scripted drama of interconnected stories about fidelity. It’s considered one of the hot acquisition titles that will unveil next month at the Toronto International Film Festival, and a possible Oscar contender. (Weisz won Best Supporting Actress for 2005’s The Constant Gardener, which was her last film with Meirelles.) The film is produced by Andrew Eaton and David Linde, Emanuel Michael, Danny Krausz and Chris Hanley.

Said director Fernando Meirelles: “In the past decade I’ve been to the BFI London Film Festival six times, some of them as a guest, and some as part of the audience. The BFI London Film Festival is one of the best festivals in the world due to its selection of films and the number of theatres the films are shown in. I am very honoured 360, an intimate film that talks about our options in life, has been chosen to open the  festival this year, and I want to thank Sandra Hebron for extending this prestigious invitation to me for a second time, following The Constant Gardener, which opened the festival in 2005.”